Ukraine latest: China must advance relations with Russia, foreign minister says

Zelenskyy vows no retreat from Bakhmut; Russia’s Wagner chief warns of ammunition shortage

The war that began with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has reached a grim one-year milestone, with mounting military and civilian deaths.

As Russia steps up attacks around Bakhmut, Western nations have raised their military support for Ukraine to the highest level yet, with commitments to send main battle tanks.

Note: Nikkei Asia decided in March 2022 to suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code. Entries include material from wire services and other sources.

Here are the latest developments:

Wednesday, March 8 (Tokyo time)

12:35 a.m. New intelligence reviewed by U.S. officials suggests that a pro-Ukrainian group sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines that carried natural gas from Russia to Europe, but there was no evidence of Kyiv government involvement in the September 2022 attack, reports The New York Times.

Tuesday, March 7

1:30 p.m. China must advance its relations with Russia as the world becomes more turbulent, Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters at an annual parliamentary session in Beijing, Qin said the close interactions between both leaders — President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin — provided the anchor for China-Russia relations. Asked whether it is possible that China and Russia would abandon the dollar and euro for bilateral trade, Qin said that countries should use whatever currency is efficient, safe and credible. “Currencies should not be the trump card for unilateral sanctions, still less a disguise for bullying or coercion,” he said.

7:00 a.m. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vows not to retreat from Bakhmut after Russian forces encroached on the devastated eastern city they have been trying to capture for six months at the cost of thousands of lives. Days ago, a Zelenskyy adviser said the defenders might give up on Bakhmut. But Zelenskyy on Monday chaired a meeting in which top military brass “spoke in favor of continuing the defense operation and further strengthening our positions in Bakhmut.” In his nightly video address, the president reported that his advisers unanimously agreed “not to retreat” and to bolster Ukrainian defenses.

2:00 a.m. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has visited the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine, where some of the bloodiest fighting took place after last year’s invasion.

Photos released by the Ministry of Defense show Shoigu touring a new medical center and being briefed on housing and school construction. Earlier, he visited Russian troops on the front line in Donetsk, according to the ministry.